Remembering a White Supremacist Coup
October 26, 2020 1:35 PM   Subscribe

The coup in Wilmington was overt, but the horrific violence and families losing everything wasn't the end. The leaders of the coup planted a seed that grew and cracked through the new foundation laid down by reconstruction. Many of the advances black people achieved were dissolved. And Jim Crow laws spread through the south like Kudzu vines. And that might seem like ancient history, like that's what the civil rights movement was supposed to take care of, right? But Kudzu vines are hard to kill and you can still see them today.
Remembering a White Supremacist Coup
Just think about the ridiculously long lines to vote in black communities. Voters being purged for no reason and laws a federal court said were designed to target African-Americans with surgical precision to stop them from voting. All of this springs from the same exact place as the violence in Wilmington in 1898. White supremacy. Today it looks different, but in many ways, the results are similar.
See also PILF: The Public Interest Legal Foundation
posted by y2karl (4 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I read the title (multiple times, thanks brain) as "Remembering a White Supremacist Cop" and thus found the scale of this a bit confusing!
posted by inexorably_forward at 3:43 PM on October 26

I grew up in NC with the require NC history classes in 4th and 8th grade and US AP History in high school, and yet I never heard of the Wilmington Coup until I was in my 20s and some public radio show did a special on it. This is buried history, for a reason.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:08 PM on October 26 [3 favorites]

Same, hydropsyche. I moved away in my 20s and didn't learn about Wilmington until last year when Vox did a piece on it.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 5:47 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]

They recently changed the name of Hugh McCrae Park to Longleaf Park and are attempting to change some of the historical markers around town. We weathered the protests quite well and there were very few arrests, and I don’t recall any injuries.

I learned about the history when I moved down here in 08, and I remember the retired guys from work telling me about bulletproof vests on the engines back in the 70s.

This area still has a very precarious...situation with racism. Being a Southern white girl means I have heard a metric crapton of things I really had no interest in hearing, and I spoke up occasionally when I had the chance. Now that I am afforded a little more respect in my position, I shut that shit down. I’m not tolerating it, and if you’re working for me you’re not gonna say it because it’s wrong and you’re an idiot for parroting stupid beliefs that have no basis in reality.

This area is still incredibly segregated. The community I currently serve is 98% white; in my department I’m the diversity token. I chose to live in a relatively integrated/diverse neighborhood for this area, but I’m out in the county where things are slightly less tenuous.

It’s a lot.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 8:56 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]

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